British casting specialist and fine jewellery manufacturer, Hockley Mint, has announced to its employees that it intends to move forward as an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT), giving them greater benefits and more say in the company’s future.
Under the terms of the EOT, controlling interest in Hockley Mint, which is currently owned by Ian Merrell, will be transferred to an all-employee trust which is then held for the benefit of staff. Employees have no direct financial liability to the company (EOTs do not involve share ownership), which means their personal finances are completely unaffected.
Instead, the EOT will pay annual bonuses of up to £3,600 to employees free of income tax. This fiscal benefit is coupled with greater say over the running of the business, leading to improved employee retention, elevated staff morale, and reinforced engagement in the company and its culture. This transfer also ensures the long-term future of Hockley Mint and protects the business from third-party takeovers that could initiate vast transformation or restructuring.
Hockley Mint Managing Director, Gary Wroe, says: “It’s always been the people and the team at Hockley Mint that have made the business great. Choosing an Employee Ownership Trust is a natural next step that allows us to maintain what’s great about our current culture, protect the future of the business and give back to our employees with tangible benefits.
“There are people on our team who have been with us for more than 20 years. Our staff retention rate is something we are incredibly proud of and it’s a testament to the culture we have built over nearly 70 years. The EOT allows us to give back, reward loyalty and reinforce our team spirit, while protecting the business from any substantial change that could come from a third-party takeover.”
The future of the business was formally unveiled to employees on the morning of November 14, 2022, during a staff meeting. Further details of the EOT and the many benefits the arrangement offers to Hockley Mint employees will be communicated over the coming days and weeks, giving all those involved the chance to ask questions.
The implementation of the EOT will have little to no influence on the day-to-day running of Hockley Mint and will require no change in structure or management. Instead, employees will have the option to become more involved in the company’s operations through councils and other consultation group initiatives.
In June, Hockley Mint was awarded Team of the Year at the National Association of Jewellers’ Awards at the NAJ Summit 2022. It was also presented with a Highly Commended accolade in the Employer of the Year category at the UK Jewellery Awards in September 2022.